Smokey and Peaty
Note: We assign every bottle we review to one of five Flavour Camps, based on the most dominant flavours found. The Flavour Camps are : (1) Fragrant and Floral, (2) Fruity and Spicy, (3) Malty and Dry, (4) Rich and Round and (5) Smokey and Peaty. To learn more about each Flavour Camp, please click here.
On to the next! This is Bimber matured in ex-Bourbon casks and then finished in heavily peated ex-Islay oak casks. Ardbeg? Caol Ila? Lagavulin? Guesses anyone? Heard its Laphroaig.
So, in the same style of accelerating the maturation process (hey no one said it was a bad thing!), the ex-Islay peated casks were quarter casks which is where smaller casks are used (hence quarter duh) which again increases surface area contacting the juice, thereby imparting more flavor allowing for a shorter finishing time. This is not a revolutionary method but it did give the Japanese distillery, Chichibu, a good amount of publicity when their Chibidaru (Japanese for “cute little casks”, and no I am not joking) quarter casks produced some really good whisky.
So just off the bat, I would expect some creaminess and vanilla from the ex-Bourbon, and then some smoke, salinity and medicinal qualities from the peated casks. Just basic stuff y’know.
So color, color, color, this Bimber is honey golden, ginger tea, and I don’t know if its late nights, but it looks like what you’d get if you mixed Chrysanthemum tea with green tea. Just me? It’s certainly not as deep as the previous Re-charred Cask.
The nose is quite delicate, you get whiffs of soot but its not intense, and that fades to give you this very saccharine sweetness and floral note that stays longer than the smokiness. Very very sweet, like peaches and cream, vanilla, kinda like a peach cream sponge cake. I do quite like it. Giving it another good inhalation, the smoke comes through more but its just so fragrant with that sweet foundation, you can seriously keep nosing it and not get sick of it.
Now the palate, oof! It’s strong. The flavors are intense and they come charging right at you, converse to slowly unfolding itself. The moment it hits the palate there is a tinge of heat. Fairly light and smooth in terms of mouthfeel, slightly oily. This is where the peated cask really shows itself, with the herbaceous and medicinal bitterness (it really is kinda like Laphroaig but a junior, more accessible version palate-wise). Towards the back, there is a twang of minerality and tartness, lemon curd and Grand Marnier or Cointreau orange liquer (I know, I know, its borderline pretentious of me). The sweetness kinda peeps at you once the peat fades, with a gentle honeyed sweetness, like that confectionary, Crunchie.
The finish is fairly long, still very intense on that medicinal cough syrup that you’d expect from Laphroaig, It is quite drying but it does leave a clean crisp finish.
Rather interesting this one. It plays a good hand of Uno’s Reverse Card, where the nose comes through as sweet and floral, with the peat taking backstage, and then on the palate it is the total opposite, with the peat front and center and the sweetness coming through at the end. Very intriguing, it really is quite an entertaining sipper. Now I’m not one for peat, honestly I don’t like Laphroaig, but I must say I really do like this bottle, in fact I’m surprised that I like it more than the Recharred. You’ll like this bottle if you like lemon meringue, Grand Marnier or Cointreau alcoholic chocolates, and well if you like Laphroaig but want something more multi-dimensional and easier on the palate.
I can understand why Bimber has made so many fans in the whisky community (these are a discerning lot mind you), each bottle is so wildly different, so complex, full of character, keeps you on your toes. I do get a sense of what the hype is about and trust me it is the real deal. That said I do think it is a distillery that will be even better with age. I would hope to see Bimber’s distillate take its time to unfold itself and crystallise a very unique Bimber profile rather than throw a party in my mouth (as fun as it was). It has that eagerness that lets out its youth.
This one was wizzing all over the place. That bags it a 🎇 cos baby... you're a firework.